God Exists – Even in a Brewery?!
The next step in the path toward a union in Christ led me to a brewery. A what?! Yes, a brewery. To tell you the truth, I am a HUGE baseball fan and primarily I was in Cooperstown visiting the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Sure, excuses, excuses. But, when the innkeepers told my wife and me about what else there was to see in the middle of New York – in the middle of nowhere – we were given a few examples of where we could learn about the local culture. In this case, there were two breweries. One had the word ‘Cooperstown’ in it. The other didn’t, and since everything else seemed too “Cooperstownish,” we decided to go to the other brewery. I am not going to name it, as unfortunately I won’t have everything great to say about it, but I’m sure a local Google search would give it away if you are that keen on knowing.
It is Lent, of course, so I could not indulge in beer, but there was a harmless tour and… all right, there was a tasting, but I limited myself (we do have to be humble in front of our hosts, after all). And let me say that I was tested by this experience. Everything was going just fine, until I realized that I had briefly lost my concentration on God being everywhere and being the focus of life. But I did not long forget, because all of a sudden, out of the midst of the air I heard, “The Trappist Monks drank only beer for 45 days. Beer helped them see God better.” I looked behind me, below the bar, up on the ceiling. But it was the server herself who had spoken.
At first, it admittedly made me think. I really didn’t know a lot about the Trappist Monks. But I knew enough to know that no one survives on only beer for 45 days. Even if it is magical beer being promoted by a biased factory.
I let it go, after turning to my wife with a slight grimace, but then I heard another voice. “These monks actually believe that small talk is evil, and only speak if the kitchen is on fire.” Outside of my head there was much laughter, and a few other sentences continued. In fact, it was a rant that confirmed the ever increasing existence of anti-Christian sentiment which largely prevails in the secular world. I turned toward the server, but it wasn’t her who had spoken the second time, it was her coworker who was behind the tour group. They were apparently a tag team, and I had the strong feeling that this was a regular part of the show. I could see my wife about to cover her face in her palm, just waiting for me to react.
To get a bit more serious, I felt isolated. I felt attacked. Like I was in a battle on Satan’s ground. Perhaps I was being sensitive, but there was not anything else negative mentioned that was opinionated up until that point; the conversation had been entirely dominated by historical facts about the temperature to brew and the quality of bottles. But this duo had succeeded in stereotyping ascetics to be outdated, ridiculous people who from drinking “see God better.” It is interesting how I could generalize that these same types of people would be promoting that one should be respecting the beliefs and lifestyles of others. I will add that it is a misconception that the Trappist Monks take a vow of silence, are Quietists, or only drink beer.
Shame on me for reacting. “That’s not true… it’s amazing the anti-Christian sentiment which prevails…” I muttered. Looking back, it reminds me of Justice Alito’s response to Obama’s first State of the Union address. He was supposed to act as a humble judge, but got carried away by his partisan emotions toward an uncalled for remark and shook his head back and forth. You see, silence would have been my best weapon. But if silent, who would have stood up for God in the middle of nowhere? Regardless, and despite feeling connected and offended all at the same time, I needed to follow the teaching of Christ. Going on Twitter or my blog to simply expose what offended me would not have been the solution. Not just because I only have about 10 followers (you can follow me @PeterSilasBlog and help change that!), but because rather there would have been nothing gained.
I was brought there for a reason. All my travels seem to bring me to a similar situation, whether I see good or evil initially. So let’s analyze this, and gain some insight.
When I speak of objective and subjective, I am referring largely to fact vs. opinion. So here goes:
From my standpoint, since I view the invisible mystery as reality, I am being subjective (admittedly) to say that the tag team had double standards. In my opinion, many of today’s people seem to promote respecting beliefs, except those of Christianity. Alternately, as a fool for Christ I believe this as a fact, there was objectively a certain level of spiritual warfare going on right before my eyes. And this would have been the opposite interpretation to many in that room, if not just to the two who had spoken: it was objective that there were crazy monks who were old fashioned and participated in ridiculous rituals that don’t support modern viewpoints, while subjective to suppose that the monks had any valid connection to God through their practice of faith. It’s no wonder many Christians feel alone in this world, because as you can see, it is the way we think that is so different. When one needs something they can see to believe, while the other needs something they believe to see, there is no potential for a viable argument. And so praying for the Holy Spirit to reach one’s heart is the only solution. Love your brother and sisters in this way, no matter what their beliefs may be.
Dear Lord, thank You for bringing me this experience so that I may share with my brothers and sisters how You exist everywhere and how You reveal Yourself to be in places that You would otherwise have been forgotten.
We are all vessels of Christ, and through patience, focus, study and vigilant awareness we may move closer to Him and the more you will discover Him. But, the harder it will become, and so hopefully I have shared something that can be helpful in your journey toward Him.
This is how I see this world: live in it, not of it. God is everywhere. God exists, even in a brewery.
Love in Christ,